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Common practice in contemporary academic literature is to identify this community as Palestinian as it is how the majority self-identify (See Self-Identification below for more).

Terms preferred by most Arab citizens to identify themselves include Palestinians, Palestinians in Israel, Israeli Palestinians, the Palestinians of 1948, Palestinian Arabs, Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel or Palestinian citizens of Israel.

‘I am very proud to be here this morning because I am sure that I am the first Mayor of London of partly Muslim extraction, and indeed the descendant of a Muslim entrepreneur by the name of Ahmed Hamdi.‘My father’s father’s father’s father - a pious man of Anatolia who made the Haj and who more or less cornered the beeswax market in Istanbul, which was a very good idea because you needed beeswax candles to light the mosques.

Of the estimated 950,000 Arabs that lived in the territory that became Israel before the war, Arab citizens of Israel today are largely composed of the people who remained and their descendants.

Others include some from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank who procured Israeli citizenship under family-unification provisions that were recently made significantly more stringent.

These included the Absentee Property Law of 1950 which allowed the state to take control of land belonging to land owners who emigrated to other countries, and the Land Acquisition Law of 1953 which authorized the Ministry of Finance to transfer expropriated land to the state.

Other common legal expedients included the use of emergency regulations to declare land belonging to Arab citizens a closed military zone, followed by the use of Ottoman legislation on abandoned land to take control of the land.

Travel permits, curfews, administrative detentions, and expulsions were part of life until 1966.

A variety of Israeli legislative measures facilitated the transfer of land abandoned by Arabs to state ownership.This along with the lifting of military rule, led to increased political activism among Arab citizens.In 1976, six Arab citizens of Israel were killed by Israeli security forces at a protest against land expropriations and house demolitions.The traditional vernacular of most Arab citizens, irrespective of religion, is the Palestinian dialect of Arabic.Most Arab citizens of Israel are functionally bilingual, their second language being Modern Hebrew.The latter two appellations, among others listed above, are not applied to the East Jerusalem Arab population or the Druze in the Golan Heights, as these territories were occupied by Israel in 1967.